Brussels, March 22 (IANS) European Council President Donald Tusk on Thursday said that the leaders of the 27 remaining European Union member-states have offered the UK an extension on the implementation of the UK’s exit from the bloc under Article 50.
“EU27 unanimously agrees on its response to UK’s requests. I will now meet PM,” Tusk wrote on Twitter, referring to British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The announcement came after nearly six hours of talks in Brussels. Efe reported.
In a subsequent tweet, Tusk detailed the options available to London.
The extension will run to May 22 if the UK House of Commons votes next week to approve the Withdrawal Agreement that May negotiated with the EU — a text the house has twice rejected, most recently last week.
But if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified, the UK will have until April 12 to “indicate a way forward.”
EU leaders turned down May’s appeal for an extension until June 30, citing the UK’s decision not to take part in the May 23-26 elections to the European Parliament.
Several heads of state and senior EU officials have said in recent days that they see no point in granting a longer extension in the absence of what French President Emmanuel Macron called “deep political change” in the UK.
Tusk said that the EU stands by the Strasbourg Agreement, a pact announced by May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker offering London legal assurances that Brussels would not exploit the so-called Irish backstop to trap the UK in a permanent customs union.